Amit Bhatia, chairman of Hope Construction Materials, has welcomed several measures detailed in the UK Budget 2014 believing that there are a number of specific aspects that will work in favour of the country’s building materials sector.
“With construction regularly used as a barometer of the economy, the Right to Build policy should see significant growth in housebuilding and with it the industries that provide the materials to do so. The GBP500m Builders’ Finance Fund should also kick-start regeneration of social housing, leading to increased supply and with it growth,” Mr Bhatia told CemNet News.
Welcoming the Planning Court approach to fast-tracking big industry planning disputes (such as those in construction) he said: “The industry is already suffering from rising regulatory costs for operators and anything which will quicken the process and remove the red tape is something which should be applauded.”
Mr Bhatia also sees the GBP85m increase in apprenticeship investment as good news. “As the head of a business which has a strong focus on getting more young people into a profession, I believe it is something which will see real, long-term gains to employment.”
Commenting on newly-announced construction projects – including the GBP270m UK Guarantee for the Mersey Gateway – Mr Bhatia states that “….as a firm believer that the industry has turned the corner I welcome more British-based projects in the coming years to continue this revival.”
News that the government will continue to compensate energy-intensive industries for higher electricity prices has also been welcomed. “This energy is being used to create things and drive the economy and making this more affordable for British manufacturers can only help output in the long term,” Mr Bhatia notes.
“This is a positive budget aimed at ensuring sustainable growth and one which I welcome from a core industry perspective,” he concludes.
Hope Construction Materials is Britain’s leading independent producer of concrete, aggregates and cement. The company owns the country’s largest cement plant in Hope, Debyshire, with up to 1.5Mta of capacity.